Powell River Peak - April 6th, 2023
Powell River Salmon Society is launching an action-packed summer camp program for six- to 10-year-olds.
Chantal Dunning, education coordinator for the salmon society, said for this first year, they are offering an experiential, hands-on educational camp focusing on nature exploration and outdoor skill building. Highlights will include: beach, forest and creek exploration; nature-themed games, stories, crafts and challenges; developing outdoor and bush-craft skills; learning about local plant and animal species and the importance of a healthy ecosystem.
“Our coastal ecology summer camp will be running for four separate weeks for the summer in two different locations – Willingdon Beach and the Lang Creek hatchery,” said Dunning. “It is going to be really fun, focusing on nature exploration and different ecosystems. Every day, we’ll have a really cool theme.
“For example, one day might be all about the forest, playing games and learning things about forest species. Another day might be about the creek and salmon habitat. Another might be about the ocean and the estuary, so it’s about finding ways to take all of this cool learning and putting it together in a fun way that will be great for kids at summer camp.”
Dunning said the program came to life because her background is in outdoor education and outdoor living.
“I have worked with nature school programs and camps in the past,” said Dunning. “Coming to the salmon society, we were talking about different ways we can spread education in the community. Because I have the background, we decided to establish a summer camp.”
Tyler Bartfai, who takes care of community relations and business development, said the salmon society is trying to paint more of a full-circle picture of all the challenges and solutions with salmon, which goes beyond the salmon itself.
“It’s a good opportunity to expand beyond the work we do at the hatchery and help to positively benefit all aspects and areas for salmon,” said Bartfai. “Education and getting the community involved gives the salmon a good, fighting chance.
“During COVID-19 we did revamp our education program, with our website salmoneducation.org, and then expanding our salmon education expos, which last year and the year before, were successful. We are trying to build on our engagement and education initiatives.”
Dunning said the camps will run for two weeks in July and two weeks in August. Each camp is a week long, running between 9 am and 3 pm, Monday to Friday. She said all the registration fees will go toward enhancing salmon locally.
“The coastal ecology summer camp will definitely be a community effort,” said Dunning. “We’ve reached out to the Coast Mountain Academy program with the high school to build a relationship between that program and our program, plus other community involvement. It will be great to not only expand the knowledge of salmon preservation, but also look into different types of ecosystems that we’ll be spreading information about.”
Bartfai said summer camp can have a big impact with the age group it is designed for, helping make another generation of forward-thinkers around salmon and being salmon champions.
“It’s definitely a good step forward so that the work we do at the hatchery doesn’t stop when the fish get released,” said Bartfai. “It can go beyond that, so this is very exciting.”
Bartfai said the salmon society prides itself on the amount of work it puts in as far as creating a sustainable salmon run in Lang Creek that provides fishing opportunities and helps the habitat of the area. He added that on the education and outreach front, the society is always striving to do the best job it can, continually looking at and reflecting on programs, seeing which ways they can be grown and improved.
“We’re just trying to help make things better for salmon,” said Bartfai.
Those wanting to register can go to salmonpreservation.org/camps.